Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew has supported calls for Leeds City Council to review its controversial plan to allow more than 70,000 new homes to be built across Leeds.
Conservative MP Mr Andrew has criticised the Labour-run council’s 70,000 housing target up to 2028 as “unrealistic and unnecessary”.
He said communities would continue to face ‘unwanted and unwarranted’ development and added that releasing so many sites for development meant that developers would cherry-pick sites, while not developing brownfield sites.
As reported last week by The Dispatch, Conservative Leader on Leeds City Council Cllr Andrew Carter (Calverley and Farsley) has written a white paper to be debated by a meeting of full council today (Wednesday) calling for a review of housing numbers.
Mr Andrew said:
“We all want to make sure that there is an appropriate supply of housing in our communities, but we also want to protect precious open space where we can.
“The evidence shows that the Leeds housing target is almost twice what it should be according to Office of National Statistics figures.
“The time for the council to act is now, they must review their housing target. For three years, Conservatives in Leeds have been pushing for a review of this figure and the administration cannot continue to ignore the facts. Moreover, it’s high time they stood up for concerned local residents and against unnecessary development.”
Cllr Carter added:
“It is now abundantly clear – and has been backed up Office of National Statistics population projections – that the council’s figure for Leeds is too high and is allowing too much freedom for developers to build houses on sites where there is widespread local opposition.
“At least 34% of land proposed for housing in the site allocations plan is in the Greenbelt, to me this does not make sense and will result in the wrong type of housing being built in areas where the need for housing is less great.”
Cllr Carter’s White Paper reads:
“This council recalls that all Opposition Groups on the council opposed the administration’s 70,000 housing target, regarding it as unrealistic and unnecessary. Council believes that these fears are now being realised.
“The ongoing issue of the city’s inflated housing target and the recent findings on five year land supply mean that many Leeds communities face the prospect of unsustainable and unwanted housing development. This council therefore resolves to immediately implement a review of housing numbers, while continuing to move ahead with the Site Allocations Plan. The results of this review should be reported to Executive Board at the earliest opportunity.
“Council further resolves to write to the Housing and Planning Minister calling for a suspension of the 5 year land supply requirement on Councils that are progressing quickly towards a Site Allocations Plan hearing.
“In addition, while generally welcoming the National Planning Policy Framework, we are concerned that it gives developers too much control over housing delivery. This Council calls on the government to consider introducing penalties against developers who are found to be land banking, and for a report to be brought to Executive Board outlining what more can be done in Leeds to address this problem.”
The Save Leeds Green Belt campaign is also urging all 99 councillors to put party politics aside and support Cllr Carter’s motion to review the number of homes needed in Leeds. The campaign has urged people against the proposals to sign an open letter and send it to their local councillors ahead of this afternoon’s meeting in the Civic Hall.
The ruling Labour group have put together an alternative white paper for councillors to vote on, which instead calls on greater powers to be devolved to local councils. Read their response in full below:
Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Resources and Strategy Cllr James Lewis has also pledged the group will ‘reduce housing numbers’.
I've had lots of emails about planning. Here's Labour Group paper for tomorrow's council meeting and we will reduce housing number target. pic.twitter.com/vxsXKIvD1e
— James Lewis (@JamesLewisLab) November 8, 2016
The Dispatch reported in June 2015 how council chiefs rejected government statistics on projected population growth in the city, which showed that the number of households in Leeds is projected to rise by 44,500 over the next 15 years.
They said government figures failed to take into account a number of local factors in Leeds.
The council says the highest allocation of new homes will be in the city centre and ‘inner area’ of Armley, Beeston Hill, Belle Isle, Gipton and Harehills, Hyde Park and Woodhouse, Hunslet and Seacroft.
Land allocated for housing in the Pudsey area also includes: Planned developments along Calverley Lane, 70 houses at Hill Foot Farm in Pudsey, 160 houses down Hough Side Road, Pudsey, 99 houses off Acres Hall Avenue/Troydale Lane in Pudsey and 206 units off Dick Lane in Thornbury.
Land allocated for housing in west Leeds also includes: Airedale Mills in Rodley, the former Wortley High School site and Wortley Low Mills off Whitehall Road.
The Dispatch reported this summer how green belt land earmarked for a major housing development off Tong Road and Gamble Lane in Farnley may win a reprieve until at least 2028.